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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Responsible Investing (CMSE11583)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course provides a strategic and technical understanding of the debates about the social, environmental and governance reporting standards, ESG responsibilities of investors, and the current trends in the integration of environmental and social criteria in the investment process. It engages in reflections about the potential for impact of different ESG strategies for real economy/environment. This course is suitable for students seeking careers in investment management who want to achieve a better understanding of the environmental and social portfolio risks and opportunities. It can be equally of interest to all students working for firms subject to investment pressures with regards to their ESG footprint.

The course will provide a common lecture series and will focus on five key areas:

- Trends and standards in ESG measurement and reporting
- The history of ESG integration in investments.
- Current practices in ESG integration in investments and their relevance for social/environmental impact
- ESG shareholder engagements/advocacy and the technical and political aspects of Annual General Meetings - their potential impacts and adverse effects compared to other options such as divestments
- New forms of sustainable investment such as impact investment, social impact bonds, peer to peer financing and diverse crowd-based approaches to investments.
Course description The course starts off by a general introduction to the investment space, different classes of investors and the types of ESG pressures/concerns they operate under. We will then reflect on the ESG information needs of investors by discussing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact measurement, the challenges of converting complex social and environmental issues into numbers and of comparing such numbers across different entities. We will then delve into the politics of ESG reporting standards and the current trends in their uptake.

In the second part of the course, we will discuss the different ways ESG matters can be integrated into the investment process. We start by discussing different types of ESG investment products ranging from best in class, to negative screening and ESG integration We will then detail how investors use their capital to pressure their investees for adjustments in their ESG behaviour through diverse practices framed as 'shareholder engagement'. We will wrap up the course with discussions about new forms of finance and their potentials for positive ESG impact ranging from Blockchain to peer to peer / decentralised modes of financing and social impact bonds.

Outlline Content

The lecture series will focus on the following areas:
- Introduction to Responsible Investments
- Introduction to Environmental and Social Reporting
- Shareholder engagements aimed at improving firms' environmental and social risk management
- New frontiers in responsible investments - Impact investing, Social Impact Bonds, and Blockchain based SRI solutions.

Student Learning Experience

The course will be delivered based on a combination of lectures, business case analyses, group work/exercises, and talks by practitioners.
Use of practical, hands on cases, audio-visual material, but also class interactions and discussions are central elements in the pedagogical approach for this course.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: Financial Markets and Investment (CMSE11170) OR Financial Markets and Investment (CMSE11407) OR Climate Policy and Investment (CMSE11487) OR Foundations of Finance Theory (CMSE11081)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 4 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 88 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 45 %, Practical Exam 55 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 45% Coursework (Individual) - Assesses all course Learning Outcomes
55% Presentation (group) - Assesses all course Learning Outcomes
Feedback Formative: Feedback will be provided throughout the course.

Summative: Feedback will be provided on the assessments within agreed deadlines.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Assess the types and strategic implications of different RI strategies for the investors, the corporations in their investment portfolio but also the environment and society
  2. Analyse the politics of shareholder engagement/influence and their intended and unintended impacts for portfolio companies
  3. Understand the expanding role of new, decentralised modes of financing such as impact investment, blockchain etc, within the broader field of responsible investments
Reading List
Essential reading:
Louche C. and Lydenberg S. Responsible Investment Dilemmas. Greenleaf Publishing. London. 2011.

Recommended reading:
Chains of Finance: How Investment Management is Shaped; Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Philip Grant, Iain Hardie, Donald Mackenzie, Ekaterina Svetlova; Oxford University Press, London, UK.
Kölbel JF, Heeb F, Paetzold F, Busch T. Can Sustainable Investing Save the World? Reviewing the Mechanisms of Investor Impact. Esty D, Cort T, eds. Organisation & environment. 2020;33(4):554-574. doi:10.1177/1086026620919202
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Understand how to manage and sustain successful individual and group relationships in order to achieve positive and responsible outcomes, in a range of virtual and face-to-face environments.

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to quality.

Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Work with a variety of organisations, their stakeholders, and the communities they serve -learning from them, and aiding them to achieve responsible, sustainable and enterprising solutions to complex problems.

Apply creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, sustainable and responsible business solutions to address social, economic and environmental global challenges.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Convey meaning and message through a wide range of communication tools, including digital technology and social media; to understand how to use these tools to communicate in ways that sustain positive and responsible relationships.

Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Afshin Mehrpouya
Course secretaryMiss Lindsay Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3823
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